JumpCloud versus AD + Okta + Jamf

Written by David Worthington on July 18, 2023

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It’s no secret that IT administrators find and implement add-on solutions to solve core access control and software system management challenges. A software “add-on” is a third-party program or script that is used to extend the features and or functionality of a system — either on-premises or cloud-based. Some vendors even partner to round out their solutions, and that’s particularly true in the identity and access management (IAM) marketplace where unified endpoint management and identity management are oftentimes distinct systems.

IT professionals may compare JumpCloud® with Microsoft Active Directory (AD) + Okta + Jamf. Layering add-ons to on-prem solutions (such as AD) offers IT organizations many benefits, but there are also trade-offs that need to be balanced against the value of using enterprise-grade point solutions. In contrast, JumpCloud unifies IAM and universal endpoint management (UEM) to serve the requirements of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) marketplace. Let’s discuss why IT admins consider layering AD + Okta + Jamf, the challenges with add-ons, and the best approach for access control and device management for an SME. 

Why IT Admins Layer Add-Ons

Numerous organizations leverage AD to manage system access and entitlements. AD offers IT admins centralized identity management for Windows, but it must be supplemented with on-premises or SaaS add-ons to manage a modern IT infrastructure including federating identity to web applications, supporting remote workers, and managing compliance and security for non-Windows services. Numerous single sign-on (SSO) vendors are available to extend AD to centralize identity management, including Okta. Admins may also select Jamf MDM — an Apple® mobile device management solution to ensure that all of their endpoints are being managed.

Learn about Jamf vs. Intune.

IT professionals also adopt Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), cost-effective Samba-based file servers, Wi-Fi and VPN networks, and other systems to meet changing technical requirements. That obligates them to integrate even more systems with AD to manage access control, which will inevitably lead to increased operational costs as data centers grow in size and complexity.

However, IAM and device management point solutions help IT admins by modernizing AD. They can handle special use cases, improve security, and help to meet strict compliance mandates. Let’s face it, some admins may just want to use the “best of breed” solution for every requirement without giving much thought to the complexities of managing and supporting a siloed IT infrastructure.

JumpCloud resides in the same categories as Okta and Jamf, but takes a different approach with unified IAM for on-premises and cloud applications, an open directory, and UEM across all endpoints. Integrating device and identity management creates tangible benefits for SMEs. 


Breaking Up with Active Directory

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Comparing JumpCloud and Active Directory, Okta, and Jamf

You’ve probably already checked out Okta and Jamf, if you’ve come this far. They offer robust enterprise-sized solutions that we’ll detail below. So, let’s learn about what JumpCloud does.


First, let’s take a deeper technical dive, starting with JumpCloud’s IAM.

SSO and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Capabilities

  • An open directory platform with existing pre-built integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and Okta. Tokenized, federated authentication of users is coming soon. Identity federation makes it possible to manage users, authentication, and access to resources everywhere while avoiding vendor lock-in. 
  • SSO to all of your IT resources — not just web applications, including certificate-based authentication for RADIUS without requiring on-premises components.
    • SAML with pre-built apps and Custom SAML Application Connectors at no additional charge
    • OIDC support
    • SCIM provisioning for authorization
    • A provisioning API (coming soon)
    • Cloud LDAP with MFA
    • Cloud RADIUS with MFA
  • MFA with an integrated authenticator app that supports biometrics, TOTP, and push notifications.
    • JumpCloud is building a device-bound credential that’s hardware protected and phishing resistant. This upcoming feature will make passwordless modern authentication accessible and easy for SMEs to adopt by eliminating expensive hardware keys.
  • Privileged access management through optional conditional access policies that account for device posture, location, and more.
  • A decentralized password manager to support apps that can’t be configured for SSO.
    • It doesn’t rely on master passwords
    • Includes features for centralized management of sharing and visibility for compliance

Advanced Lifecycle Management

  • Identity governance and administration with indicators of compliance (coming soon)
  • User lifecycle management with HR system integration and automated dynamic groups

Reporting and Analytics

  • Easy SIEM integrations
  • Directory and System Insights™ that combine system and directory events without requiring integration with third-party security services
    • JumpCloud also provides additional pre-built reports for SSO, OS patch status, and other pertinent information

Unified Endpoint Management

  • Device management for Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows endpoints. UEM is configured via native agents, MDM for Apple and Windows, and EMM for Android.
  • A multi-tenant portal (MTP) for MSPs and partners to take actions on users and devices across different tenants.


Okta provides enterprise-grade IAM.

SSO and MFA Capabilities 

Comparable baseline SSO for web protocols and multi-factor authentication functionality, including:

  • Native third-party integrations
  • A password manager
  • Authenticator apps
  • Support for biometrics and FIDO 2.0/WebAuthn factors
  • Browser extensions
  • ​​An application programming interface (API) for access management
  • LDAP authentication through agent-based directory integration

Okta’s ThreatInsight, a security intelligence layer with threat hunting, blocks suspicious users and has audit logs. It also include enterprise-focused features such as:

  • Cloud access security broker (CASB)
  • Customer data integrators
  • Virtual private network (VPN)
  • B2C identity management

Advanced Lifecycle Management

Okta provides provisioning capabilities and identity lifecycle management.

Reporting and Analytics

Okta provides a reporting interface that analyzes user activity, security events, and system logs.

Unified Endpoint Management

Okta integrates with third-party UEM systems, and are considered managed when a user profile is associated with a device management solution.

Okta Versus JumpCloud, Third-Party Research


JAMF specializes in managing Apple devices.

SSO and MFA Capabilities

Jamf doesn’t provide SSO and SAML/SCIM-based user provisioning, RADIUS, or cloud LDAP. MFA requires a third-party identity provider (IdP). It relies upon partnerships and integrations with other enterprise-focused vendors such as Microsoft and Okta. 

Jamf offers basic IP address conditional access.

Advanced Lifecycle Management

The enterprise edition of Jamf offers identity-based account provisioning enterprise. However, full lifecycle management requires integrations.

Reporting and Analytics

Jamf’s enterprise subscription provides insights into risks and the ability to take policy actions to mitigate them. The platform will monitor and enforce device compliance and endpoint telemetry.

Unified Endpoint Management

Jamf is limited to Apple products, but it delivers a deep set of features for that platform. Its enterprise pricing tier enables well-defined compliance use cases that map to industry frameworks such as NIST. This is an advantage for very large organizations.

Jamf requires integrations to manage non-Apple devices.

Active Directory

SSO and MFA Capabilities

Active Directory provides domain logins for Windows networks. Microsoft has no direct cloud-based replacement. It requires add-ons to federate identity cross-domain and to web applications. MFA is not included with AD.

Advanced Lifecycle Management

Customizations and add-ons are required for AD lifecycle management. Entitlements are assigned and managed manually with low maturity for entitlements management.

Reporting and Analytics

Many SMEs deploy third-party reporting tools for AD, but it’s possible to build directory reports using queries and scripts.

Unified Endpoint Management

Active Directory only manages Windows devices via Group Policy.

Pros and Cons of Layering AD + Okta + Jamf

An SME should make an appraisal of its capacity to implement and support multiple point solutions. The primary challenges with software add-ons are time consumption and expensive integration. Integration of add-ons places a major strain on your IT/sysadmin/developer resources as they need to become experts in individual tools. 

Often, integrating add-ons requires a skillset beyond most IT organizations, which then translates to costs such as professional services or external consultants.

Monolithic systems like AD are architecturally complex and may be difficult to integrate. AD also requires significant on-prem infrastructure to implement and maintain. Additionally, from an IT perspective, each business unit views and uses data differently. System integrators then have to figure out how they can create a single view of each data set that will satisfy all users across an organization.

Integration and costs aren’t the only challenges with add-ons:

  • Management – Rather than just managing one software vendor, IT admins would have to manage three separate systems by layering AD + Okta + Jamf. The management of multiple systems (and vendors) adds a substantial amount of complexity through increased IT management overhead.
  • Security – Because each system is managed by a different vendor, there is an additional concern for security. More independent systems cause more exposure and thus there are more vulnerabilities that IT admins must find a way to secure.
  • Ease of use – Layering multiple tools to a single system requires IT admins to learn how to use multiple systems rather than just one. Layering on add-ons hinders overall usability and brings unnecessary complexity to IT tool management. 
  • The need for even more add-ons – Point solutions are rarely holistic products.

The dramatic shift to the cloud and its respective challenges of integration, tool management, security, and usability have left many IT organizations wondering if there is a better approach to access control and device management.

Are Integrated MDM/EMM and IAM Vendors Really Zero Trust?

The Best Approach to Access Control and Device Management?

Why JumpCloud Is a Better Choice

The high level benefit for SMEs is that unifying cross-domain identity and device management reduces costs, improves operational efficiencies, strengthens cybersecurity, supports workplace and identity transformation, and reduces the pressure on your IT admins and security teams. JumpCloud is also an open directory that integrates with other directories, including AD.

This modern approach eliminates the need to have Active Directory plus all of the numerous add-ons for web app SSO, MFA, system management/MDM, auditing/governance, and other needs. One key difference between JumpCloud and AD + Okta + Jamf is that our IAM platform lives entirely in the cloud and requires no infrastructure on-prem. This approach can be more cost-effective for SMEs that would otherwise pay more to integrate point solutions.

  • Okat’s pricing is divided into tiers with a la carte services for advanced server access, directory integration, API access management, lifecycle management, and automation workflows. It requires a minimum contract of $1,500, and that doesn’t include UEM.
  • Jamf also has tiered pricing, but it is increasingly selling pre-built solutions packages that include multiple products. It, again, only manages Apple products.
  • JumpCloud’s pricing is transparents and workflow-based and the full platform includes IAM and UEM.

The JumpCloud platform offers IT professionals centralized management over cross-platform system environments, web and on-prem applications, traditional and virtual storage solutions, and networks spanning multiple locations.

The IT Professional’s Guide to Calculating TCO.

Is It Difficult to Migrate to JumpCloud?

JumpCloud offers a free Active Directory Integration tool that populates users into its cloud directory for SSO and assigns users to managed devices across all platforms. Windows MDM provides tamper-proof policies and a Windows agent gathers telemetry, runs commands against endpoints, and enables remote assistance for streamlined IT administration.

IT admins can manage a wider range of IT resources with JumpCloud’s open directory platform while reducing costs and management overhead. Sign up for an individualized demo today. JumpCloud also offers a variety of Professional Services to help ease the load your employees face. Learn more or schedule a free 30-minute technical consultation.

David Worthington

I'm the JumpCloud Champion for Product, Security. JumpCloud and Microsoft certified, security analyst, a one-time tech journalist, and former IT director.

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